Fairfax County E-Bird for Thursday, May 23, 2019

RAZzmatazz: Tysons-based RAZ Mobility launched a mobile phone to assist users who are vision-impaired or hard of hearing. The phone, known as Lucia, includes large tactile buttons in different colors and shapes, a voice guide and an SOS button. It also features a high-contrast display with enlarged text, easily adjustable audio settings and a voice guide. Kieran McQuilkin of DC Inno notes that the potential market is huge, with an estimated 9 percent of U.S. adults having difficulty seeing and 15 percent having some level of hearing difficulty.

Just married: Cvent, the Tysons-based developer of meetings, events and hospitality technology, acquired San Francisco-based Wedding Spot, creator of a wedding-venue sourcing platform. According to a release carried by Potomac Tech Wire, Wedding Spot was founded in 2013 and offers more than 12,000 venues across the U.S. direct access to couples seeking wedding locations.

Anchors aweigh: Herndon-based Serco agreed to acquire the Naval Systems Business Unit of Tysons-based Alion Science and Technology for $225 million, the companies jointly announced today. The sale is subject to regulatory approvals, notes Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal.

Discovery channeled: KLDiscovery, a Tysons-based provider of electronic discovery and data-recovery services to large corporations and law firms, will merge with investment vehicle Pivotal Acquisition in a move that will allow the software firm to go public at a value of about $800 million. Katishi Maake of the Washington Business Journal reports that majority shareholders, Carlyle Group LP and Revolution Growth, will retain and roll over their shares under the deal that is expected to close in the third quarter.

Home sweet home: Vienna is the best place in Virginia to live according to HomeSnacks, a ranking site. Vienna scored particularly well in education, housing, safety, amenities and jobs. The survey also took into consideration median income, population density, unemployment rate, commute time, health insurance coverage and poverty rates.

One happy place: WTOP’s Jeff Clabaugh took note of SmartAsset’s fifth annual rankings that names Fairfax County as one of the happiest places in the U.S. Fairfax County tied Denver suburb Douglas County as the fifth-happiest place in the nation, thanks to the highest life expectancy among the top 10 (83.73 years), strong marks for physical activity and a minuscule personal bankruptcy rate.

Not a kid anymore: Parts of Reston Town Center are 30 years old and it’s time for a makeover. So says Boston Properties, which plans to spend $4 to $5 million on renovations, primarily in the 3.6-million-square-foot center’s common areas. Rebecca Cooper of the Washington Business Journal reports the 18-month project will include installation of artificial green turf in the area that accommodates the skating rink in winter. A beer or wine garden is also possible.

Holding firm: Tysons based Gannett, which publishes USA TODAY and scores of papers around the nation, appears to have held off a hostile takeover bid. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports that investor MNG Enterprises (aka Digital First Media), had sought to take control of Gannett’s board but was rebuffed by Gannett shareholders.

Sky’s the limit: The Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology, through its Virginia Founders Fund, invested in Roanoke-based Skyphos Technologies, producer of a micro-3D printing process to help researchers decrease development time and costs when bringing new medical tests to market. According to Technical.ly/DC’s Michelai Graham has more.

Par for the course: According to a report by Katishi Maake available to subscribers of the Washington Business Journal, payrolls at 25 Fairfax County golf courses increased 48 percent from 2007 to 2016. While many regions were losing golf courses, the number of links in Fairfax County remained the same in that time and their employee base grew 26 percent to 1,226.

Plenty of advice: The Center for Government Contracting at George Mason University’s School of Business appointed nine new advisory board members. Jane Edwards of ExecutiveBiz lists the appointees and observes that the Center is the first to serve as a research, education, training, and collaboration hub for government, industry and academia to address issues in government contracting.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

  • Perspecta will help update the Department of Defense vetting process, improving background checks and determining insider threats under a potential $75 million agreement. GovConWire
  • Dewberry received a potential five-year contract from the FBI to provide architectural, engineering and planning services for the Washington, D.C., region and other U.S. locations. GovConWire
  • IBM picked up a potential $275 million contract to help secure the supply chain that provides semiconductor products and services to the military. GovConWire
  • AECOM secured a five-year, $122.7 million contract to provide support services to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in the fields including cyber, artificial intelligence, electromagnetic spectrum operations, air, surface, and subsurface capability analysis and energy resiliency. GovConWire

Upcoming Business Events

  • June 1: TiE DC Startup Workshop — Scaling and Growing Ventures. Government contracting leaders discuss ways to achieve goals and opportunities for founders and CEOs of 8(a), woman-owned, HUBZones and veteran-owned businesses. Click here
  • June 4: Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. This FCEDA workshop is for those contemplating doing business in the county. The series, which covers a full range of basics, is held in partnership with the Community Business Partnership, the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Registration is required. Click here.
  • June 26: Access to Success Multicultural Business Conference — Roadmap to Resources. Free event designed to provide practical knowledge to small, women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. Presented by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity. Click here.

FAIRFACT: In addition to the 10 firms in the Fortune 500, Fairfax County is the headquarters for seven more companies in the new Fortune 1000.